Where Is Your Strength? Part One

I love David’s words in Psalm 18:1-2. It says, “I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Psalm 28:7 says, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.”

Psalm 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Nehemiah 8:10 says, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” It is good to remember where our strength comes from.

Psalm 121:1-2 says, “…From when comes my help? My help comes from the Lord…”

Crucible Words ~ Part Two

How many countless times have you turned to a psalm that David wrote, or Jeremiah’s faith declarations in Lamentations, or Job’s words? We are drawn to them again and again because they were crucible–words. 

We gain experiential knowledge of the Lord as we learn to lean hard on His grace. We have the living experience of Him being there for us, often in ways that we had never experienced Him before.

Trials purify, refine, fortify, and redefine our walk with the Lord. The chaff of self is burned off. Our crucible view gives us a new perspective. When Paul viewed his thorn in the flesh through the insights given, he gained a new appreciation for his weakness.

Here’s an illustration. Picture a piece of long human hair interwoven through the links of a heavy chain. Where is the weakness of the hair? It is hidden in the strength of the chain. Now see yourself through the lens of Colossians 3:3. It says, “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

Crucible Words ~ Part One

Crucible’s definition: a situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new. The furnace-crucible that the three Hebrew men were thrown into was a severe trial that tested their faith.

They made the faith declaration that God was able to deliver them. Daniel 3:18 says, “But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image…”

Our trials are not only for us alone. Ephesians 3:10 says that God uses His church to display His manifold wisdom. Our trials are never in vain. James 5:10 says that God has an intentional end. We may not understand why we are going through our crucible-trial.

This we do know. 2 Corinthians 1:4 says that God will comfort us so that we may be able to comfort others in their trials ~ with words that come right from within our crucible.

Sufficient & Abundant Grace~Part Two

Remember Paul’s thorn in the flesh? 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. God did not take it away, He gave Paul such a revelation of what it was doing on his behalf. In verse 9 it says, “…My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness…”

Our thorny trials are intrinsically equipped with more than enough grace to carry us through.

His grace enables us to endure victoriously. It isn’t a matter of just getting by. It is an opportunity for us to see the Lord at work on our behalf in ways we have not known Him before.

Our trials give us experiential knowledge of His Presence moment by moment. It isn’t print on a page. He is with us in our trial, as much as He was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. Daniel 3:12-25. King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished. In verse 25 he said, “…and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

Sufficient & Abundant Grace~Part One

I love the contrast in John 10:10. The thief’s priority is to kill, steal, and to destroy. Where does the ‘thief’ work from? Inner strongholds that he set up through rogue thoughts. They came as fiery darts. They slipped in because we allowed them to penetrate.

What does the verse say is Jesus’ priority? He said, “…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” The Strong’s definition for abundantly is: superabundance, excessive,  overflowing surplus, over and above, more than enough, profuse, extraordinary, above the ordinary, and more than sufficient.

Rogue thoughts destroy from within. Righteous thoughts that conform us to God’s will and ways empower us from within. Ephesians 1:18 says of His resurrection power, “…the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.” Verse 20 said that it is the same power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead.

Prioritizing Our Thoughts~Part Two

His calling is our mandate. 1 Peter 1:15 says, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”  Amplified adds, “…and manner of living.” All thoughts come from our intentions, and all actions come from thoughts.

Hebrews 4:12 says that it is God’s word ~ two-edged sword ~ that pierces, discerns, and exposes the thoughts and intentions of our heart. What resides in our heart feeds into our thought processes. 

God’s ways are always to be our priorities. If you haven’t read Psalm 119 lately I encourage you to do so. It uses all manner of words to describe God’s word. Verse 1 says, “Blessed  are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord!” Thoughts can build us up or tear us down. They can empower us or control us. It depends on what is stored in our hearts.

Prioritizing Our Thoughts ~ Part One

When we consider Proverbs 23:7, we need to remember that our thoughts control who we become. It says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” Colossians 3:2 is our mandate for prioritizing. It says, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

Matthew 6:33 is another mandate. It says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” Righteous thoughts conform us to God’s will and ways. Mandate means an official order or commission to do something.

2 Timothy 1:9 says, “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.”

Ephesians 1:4 says, ‘Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”

Heart Communications

1 Corinthians 15:33 KJV says, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” Amplified says, “…corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character.” This verse came into my prayer for someone. However, as I was praying, the Holy Spirit gave me another insight.

Evil communications can also be a negative dialogue ~ communicating with yourself against someone or a circumstance. It is a mirror of our heart. It corrupts our character. It is manifest through our behavior, eyes, and body language, before harsh derogatory words are spewed out.

When we are communing with the Lord through His word, we are feeding our spirit. We are also mirroring Christlikeness to those around us. Meditating in God’s word is an inner dialogue that results in spiritual maturity. It is also reflected through our behavior, eyes, and body language. A negative dialogue is with ourselves, but meditating is communion with God.

Bandages Versus Scalpel

I just typed this to a mentee. Then paused and thought about it. “Until we deal with root causes, all other self-coping methods are just bandages that cover the emotional infection.” What happens when infections are ignored? They become systemic.

How do we know if we have an emotional infection? The puss of bitterness oozes out of our words and attitudes. Does bitterness ooze from something in your past? It is time to remove the bandages and apply the scalpel of God’s word ~ piercing into the center of the infection so healing can begin.

It all starts with our thoughts. In truth, everything does. Our hearts were designed for communication with the Lord. They are the center of our beliefs. What we believe about God affects our communication with Him and with others. 

Our hearts are to be a deep refreshing reservoir of verses that we have hidden there. If we misuse our hearts, they can become a cesspool of contaminating thoughts. What is your inner dialogue like?

Active Faith

Hebrews 11:1 used the words “now faith.” It indicates active faith. How do we keep our faith active? Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” 2 Corinthians 10:4 is our battle cry for effective spiritual warfare.

It says, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” Verse 5 gives us an explanation of how demonically set up strongholds operate ~anything that opposes God’s way.

It says, “Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…” 2  Peter 1:3 says, “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.” Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” Our faith increases as we continue to gain experiential knowledge of God.